Setting the Stage of the Galaxy — Legend of the Galactic Heroes Episode 1 – 12

This is a series of articles about Legend of the Galactic Heroes. The goal is to detail how life is in the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance. This article will cover episodes 1 – 12.

Two major forces exist in the galaxy, the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance. For 150 years these two powers have waged war with each other. At this point in the series the FPA(Free Planets Alliance) launches a major offensive to take the imperial space fortress Iserlohn the only safe space route connecting the two. With “Thor’s Hammer”(the space fortress’s weapon) the empire has been safe from invasion. Under Wang Wen-li the FPA gain control of the space station. Giving the FPA the opportunity to “liberate the people” from the empire.

The Galactic Empire

At this point in the series life in the empire seems to be distant from the war, with court politics as the main concern for the people. Though the only real time given to non nobles in the empire are solders, so the war may have more of an impact for the commoners. Because of that the rest of the information about the empire will be about nobles and the military.

The nobles seem to live an old style European life style with very heavy ties to your class and station in life. The narration indicates that drama in the court is keep within the court and the common people rarely learn about it. At this point in time the imperial court seems to be slowly degrading with an indifferent emperor. Even so life with in the court still seem to be to put on a show for others and alway be polite. So a lot of ceremonies and parties happen so power play will also happen. Art of the imperial family seems to bring great social value for noble families, being passed down and used to get favors form other nobles. Nobles seem to be able to do what they want to the common people. Nobles taking common women seem to be a thing. Nobles also talk about keeping the common people in there place. This sometimes brings them at odds with certain people in the military.

The military seem to be the only place for class mobility to happen within the empire. Though rare, it does seem possible that someone of common birth can get to a high rank in the military and join the court. Reinhard von Lohengramm would be an example but it seems he may be a lower noble and had help from the influence of his sister and the Emperor. It seems it’s mostly that someone of common birth will just rise far enough to command a ship.

Respect seems to be treated very seriously in the Imperial Military, to the point that in some cases it may make the military less affective. A good example of this is how the FPA gain control over Iserlohn due to the lack of strict security practices.

Ceremonies are grand. While there could be ceremonies for common people and lower ranks of the military all the ones shown so far in the Empire are invite only for high nobles and top military personal. The ceremonies are flashy and seem to have strict rules on how to act during them. Those attending are required to stand with the exception of certain presenters, for example the Emperor.

So far everyone in the empire seem white with Germanic names. While facial features and hair color are different with some people, the races seem set to just white. This may have something to do with the Inferior Gene Act in-acted by the first emperor but so far the only information given is that people with birth defects were not allowed to live. Besides Fezzen and Kastrop only Odin (capital planet of the Galactic Empire) has been shown. Other races could be in empire but none have have been shown yet.

Women in the empire seem to follow traditional gender roles with an exception of a few in the military. No women in the court seem to hold any direct political power and the few in the military seen seem to have non-combat roles and don’t serve on ships. The role of women in the military seems to just be desk jobs far away from the war.

The Free Planets Alliance

At this point in the series the war seems to affect everything in life for those in the FPA. All the leaders, except in the military, are elected. Politics seem to split in to two camps. The nationalist camp which want to liberate all mankind from the empire and the pacifism camp which wants to have peace with the empire and end the war. In the FPA there is no noble or set elite class so most people show so far seem to represent life for the general population.

Just about everyone seems to have been impacted by the war. Every one except a few are serving, know someone who is serving, or know someone who died in the war. Because of this a popular way of getting elected seems to be to appeal to emotion using nationalism. The media seems to also go with this even declaring major losses in battle as victories. The military is a good opportunity to rise your social class and get an education. Though it seems that the war has taken it effects on the economy and made it hard for the young to live a stable life without joining the military if they were not born into a rich family. The military at this time may even pay for a high school education that has to be repaid in cash or service. It is not know at this time if the military is a volunteer military or draft. What is know is the the military takes a lot of skilled labor out of the civilian sector. This leaves the civilian sector with an older population running everything. Perhaps drain of youth is a new thing or a majority of the civilian work force is elderly. Ending with episode 12 we learn that the economy may not be able to handle the war any longer.

While it may seem obvious that the war is destroying the nation and a peace treaty with the empire is best to save the FPA but groups like the Patriotic Knights Corps(PKC) deal with dangerous elements like pacifism. The PKC is a pro-war group that seem to have some pubic support. The are a masked group so it is unknown who are members of the PKC and there crimes seem to go un punished. They even hold pubic rallies.

Compared to the Empire the FPA military is less formal. Officers seem okay with stating there ideas even if higher ups don’t agree, though they will still follow orders. The military seems to not have any political power and just does there duty given from elected officials.

In the FPA women seem to have equal opportunity. While there are not as many as men women seem to be able to gain high political office and serve in war-zones same as men.

The FPA is has many races and no race seems to be treated better or worse than one another. Last names are from a wide variety of cultures. It is not know if there anything based on race or if a history of racism is in the FPA.

In the FPA ceremonies can be split in to two categories, press and military. The press just do interviews. Not much detail has been given on how the press works in the FPA or how much freedom they have but so far it has been indicated that at minimal politicians will stage press events. FPA military ceremonies seen so far are very relaxed compared to the Empire. Most people are sitting and seem bored and don’t want to be there. Even higher ups in the military who are on stage just seem to be going with the motions. An exception are politicians who seem to bring some life but military personal sill seems indifferent. If its a military event open to civilians the audience seem more lively but also has less military personal who are not required to show up. Military personal also seem bored in these type of events too.

The first 12 episodes layout a good foundation of how society in the Galactic Empire and the FPA are. No major changes has happen yet and the viewer can get a good understanding of how the two nations operate. With the fall of Iserlohn the FPA plan to invade the Galactic Empire upsetting the balance of the two nations. The next article will go over how the invasion changes life in the Galactic Empire and the FPA.

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